What is a currency converter?
Exchange rates change every day, so you must use a currency converter that is updated daily, even hourly, to receive the best and most accurate quote. Remember that currency converters will not incorporate the fees that will be charged by credit card companies, banks and exchange bureaus. These added fees are generally posted with the exchange rates at the location of the business.
Google Currency Converter
The easiest way to find out the exchange rate is to type it into Google. The first result will generally be the currency converter, provided you have entered the search term correctly. For instance:
1. Type into the search bar:
o 1 USD to EUR
2. This will activate the currency converter, as there are two currency terms, representing the US Dollar and the Euro. The results will display a chart showing the 5 year exchange rate trend and:
o 1 US dollar = 0.7492 euros
3. This number will obviously change from day to day.
4. If you desire, you will be able to type other amounts into the currency converter tool
If you do not know the proper currency term, Google will generally recognize what you are trying to do. So you may type “1 USD to Ruble” and the search results will display the currency converter tool with information on the Russian Ruble (RUB). As you are using a search engine, finding the currency term for any country’s currency will not be difficult.
Currency conversion on the go
Of course, if you are at a store or tourist location, you may not have access to a computer, nor will checking every price be feasible. Most mobile phones from the past decade (post-2000) will have calculators that have alternate currency converter functions. You will simply need to add the current rate into the program and it will convert any amounts you punch in. More advanced phones will have applications that update the currency rates regularly.
For a slightly lower tech alternative, a cheap handheld calculator will also work well. Simply determine how much you will need to multiply the local currency to determine its value in your local currency. For example, with the previous mentioned USD-EUR rate, you must multiply the Euro amount by 1.3 to approximate the value in USD. Clearly, this method is less accurate at larger amounts, so you must use a proper currency converter before making a large foreign purchase. This currency conversion will help you make a judgment on the value of the item.
The calculator is also a valuable tool for haggling in countries where you do not speak the native language. The majority of merchants around the world will recognize the Arabic numbers that we use to denominate value. Just be sure that you are haggling in the foreign currency rather than your own to avoid a tragic breakdown in communication.